Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-2116
  • E-ISSN: 2210-2124
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The Gothic Bible offers valuable secondary evidence for the pronunciation of Greek in the fourth century AD. However, inferences based on such data may result in a vicious circle, as the interpretation of Gothic is, to a great extent, dependent on the historical details of contemporary Greek. I show that a circular argument can be avoided by using a novel method, which is based on the comparison of transcription correspondences of Greek loan words and biblical names occurring in the Greek original and the Gothic version. I test the method by applying it to three example cases. The first concerns the aspirated stops φ, θ, χ: Gothic evidence confirms the fricativization of these stops. The second case concerns the potential fricativization of voiced stops β, δ, γ: the results are inconclusive, which is an important finding, since this shows that Gothic cannot be used as evidence for the fricativization of these stops. The third case concerns front vowels: Gothic evidence confirms the coalescence of αι and ε on the one hand, and ει and ῑ on the other, while it also indicates that η was not (yet) pronounced as [iː] in the fourth century AD.


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